PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – University of Pennsylvania students and staff protested Thursday outside the office of President Liz Magill, who is facing an uproar over her comments at a congressional hearing on antisemitism earlier this week.
Magill is under fire for her answers during repeated questioning Tuesday about whether calling for the genocide of Jewish people violates Penn's rules or the university of code of conduct.
During the hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Elise Stefanik asked Magill, "Specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?"
"If it is directed and severe and pervasive, it is harassment," Magill said.
Stefanik asked: "So the answer is yes?"
"It is a context-dependent decision, Congresswoman," Magill said.
About 30 people gathered outside College Hall Thursday afternoon.
A billboard truck was parked in that area as well, with the words "Fire Liz" and the quote about a "context-dependent decision" from the exchange with Stefanik.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce announced Thursday afternoon that it will investigate Penn and two other schools with the "full force of subpoena power."
Gov. Josh Shapiro was among several political leaders who criticized Magill's testimony. On Wednesday, he called on the Board of Trustees to meet immediately to discuss her testimony. Shapiro is a nonvoting member of the board.
"That was an unacceptable statement from the president of Penn," Shapiro said. "Frankly, I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. It should not be hard to condemn genocide."
Magill released a video to Instagram Wednesday evening with an explanation and acknowledging it would be harassment or intimidation.
"I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate," she said in the Instagram video.
Shapiro spoke about Magill again Thursday evening following a menorah lighting with UPenn students. He said he is not calling on her to resign and it is up to the board to decide how to move forward.
"This is a moment where leaders need to speak and act with moral clarity. And leaders don't only come in the form of elected leaders like me. It's leaders of universities and corporations, arts and cultural institutions," he said.
"President Magill failed that test when she was under oath in front of Congress," Shapiro said.
Earlier Thursday morning, the Board of Trustees held what a person at Penn who is familiar with the situation described as an informal virtual gathering.
It's not known what was discussed in that meeting, but no votes took place.
Dafna Ofer is one of the organizers of a protest being held outside Magill's office.
"I think there's a lot of questions that President Magill and the Board of Trustees will have to ask themselves. I think they need to face in front of the mirror," Ofer said.
CBS News Philadelphia requested an interview with Magill but was told she would not be giving any interviews.
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